White House walks back statement from Nikki Haley on Russian sanctions  

WATCH ABOVE: Official says President Trump has put the brakes on new Russia sanctions

There will be no new sanctions against Russia on Monday, White House officials confirmed, after American UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said otherwise.

“We’re evaluating, but nothing to announce right now,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday afternoon.

That comes after Haley told CBS’ Face the Nation that sanctions were coming against Russia for enabling the government of Syrian leader Bashar Assad to continue using chemical weapons. She said that the U.S. Treasury secretary “will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn’t already.”

Haley also said Russia has blocked six attempts by the UN Security Council to make it easier to investigate the use of chemical weapons.


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Sanders said the U.S. was still considering the sanctions, but they weren’t coming on Monday.

“The president is going to continue to be tough on ,” she said. “And that’s why we’re continuing to evaluate a number of sanctions.”

“The president has been clear that he’s going to be tough on Russia. But at the same time, he’d still like to have a good relationship with them.”

WATCH: Nikki Haley says relationship with Trump is “perfect”

 

The debate about new sanctions came after the U.S., along with France and the U.K., launched military strikes on Friday night against Assad after a suspect chemical weapon attack against a rebel group in Douma one week earlier.

Assad has denied he used chemical weapons.

WATCH: Ambassador Nikki Haley says U.S. will not pull its troops out of Syria until its goals are accomplished

Russia has military forces, including air defences, in several areas of Syria to support Assad in his long war against anti-government rebels.

In announcing the strikes, Trump called on Russia to “decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace.”


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When asked if Russian President Vladimir Putin was still welcome for a summit or meeting at the White House, Sanders said “yes.”

“Again, he feels like it’s better for the world if they have a good relationship,” she explained. “But that’s going to depend on the actions of Russia. We’ve been very clear, in our actions, what we expect, and we hope that they’ll have a change in their behaviour.”

U.S. troops to remain in Syria… for now

The White House said U.S. troops will remain in Syria, for now, but the end-goal is still to pull out of the country.

LISTEN: David Schultz, Hamline University professor, shares his thoughts on Calgary Today

“We’re still committed to defeating ISIS,” Sanders said on Monday. “The president also wants the people in the region, our Gulf partners, to step up and do more, and he wants them to take on some of the financial responsibility of all of the military provided there in the region.

“We still have troops on the ground. But the president wants to bring those people home, and that hasn’t shifted.”

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Haley also said the U.S. won’t be pulling troops out of Syria right away, saying their involvement there “is not done.”

Haley said the three U.S. goals for accomplishing its mission are making sure chemical weapons are not used in a way that could harm U.S. national interests, defeating the Islamic State group and having a good vantage point to watch what Iran is doing.

“We’re not going to leave until we know we’ve accomplished those things,” she said.

*With files from the Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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